Martian New Impact Craters Rocks from space just keep on falling. They fall throughout the solar system but have more impact on Mars because they do not not burn up in the thinner atmosphere. Scientists using images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have estimated that the planet is bombarded by more than 200 small asteroids or bits of comets per year forming craters at least 12.8 feet (3.9 meters) across. Researchers have identified 248 new impact sites on parts of the Martian surface in the past decade, using images from the spacecraft to determine when the craters appeared. The 200-per-year planet wide estimate is a calculation based on the number found in a systematic survey of a portion of the planet.
DiCaprio's Environmental Charity Art Auction Raise $33 Million Leonardo DiCaprio's environmental charity auction at Christie's in New York has raised an impressive $33.3 million from wealthy art collectors. Most of the sale proceeds went to environmental protection causes promoted by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. The Hollywood actor, who was himself present at the auction, urged collectors to bid as if the planet's fate "depends on us" - and they responded to his call generously.
Ice Age Climate Changed Quickly Short, sharp fluctuations in the Earth's climate throughout the last ice age may have stopped trees from getting a foothold in Europe and northern Asia, scientists say.
According to a new study, warm spells were so brief that trees were unable to establish themselves before the temperature shot back down again.
'The warm events were so short-lived that ecosystems weren't able to respond in full,' says Professor Brian Huntley, of Durham University, who led the study.
Methane Across the Country Methane is created naturally near the Earth's surface, primarily by microorganisms by the process of methanogenesis. It is carried into the stratosphere by rising air in the tropics. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, stronger than carbon dioxide on a 20-year timescale, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, though on a century timescale, carbon dioxide is far stronger. "This research suggests significant benefits to slowing climate change could result from reducing industrial methane emissions in parallel with efforts on carbon dioxide," said Ira Leifer, a researcher with UC Santa Barbara's Marine Science Institute. Doing a a cross-continent drive, a UC Santa Barbara scientist has found that methane emissions across large parts of the U.S. are higher than is currently known, confirming what other more local studies have found. Their research is published in the journal Atmospheric Environment.
Tundra Carbon Impact? There is a concern with the carbon stored in the form of frozen partially decomposed vegetation in the vast tundra of the north. When the permafrost melts, it may releases carbon in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, both of which are greenhouse gases. The amount of greenhouse gases which will be released from the Arctic’s stockpile of carbon may be more secure than scientists thought. In a 20-year experiment that warmed patches of chilly ground, tundra soil kept its stored carbon, researchers report. Almost half of the world’s soil carbon is stored at high latitude, in the form of dead and decaying organisms.
April Showers They say "April showers bring May flowers" and this year, April really did live up to its expectations of bringing down the rain. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the average precipitation for April in the contiguous US was 2.9 inches! This is 0.27 inches above average tying April 1953 as the 19th wettest April on record. Not all of the country experienced a wetter than normal average, but the northwest, Midwest, and southeast definitely saw the effects of this heavy precipitation.
EarthTalk: Climate Change and Hawaii’s Coral Reefs Despite sweeping protections put in place near the end of George W. Bush's presidency for large swaths of marine ecosystems around the Hawaiian Islands, things are not looking good for Hawaii’s coral reefs. Poisonous run-off, rising ocean levels, increasingly acidic waters and overfishing are taking their toll on the reefs and the marine life they support. Biologists are trying to remain optimistic that there is still time to turn things around, but new threats to Hawaii's corals are only aggravating the situation...